Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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October 8 - Morning

"Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year... the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
'I have spoken openly to the world,' Jesus replied.  'I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.'
When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. 'Is this the way you answer the high priest?' he demanded.
'If I said something wrong,' Jesus replied, 'testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?'
 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest."
- John 18:12-13; 19-24

The Son of God on Trial Before the Godfather of Temple Politics

After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane around 2:00 AM he was first taken to the high priest’s palace/mansion in western Jerusalem on Mount Zion. There he appeared in front of Annas before he was taken to the high priest Caiaphas and a few of members of the Sanhedrin.
Annas was a sixty-one year old man in 30 AD. He had served as the Jewish high priest from 6-15 AD. Annas had been appointed by the Quirinius, the Roman Governor of Syria, in 6 AD immediately after Herod’s son Archelaus was deposed by Caesar. When Rome set Valerius Gratus up as the governor of Judea in 15 AD, Annas was removed instantly by Governor Valerius because Annas insisted on imposing and executing death sentences which the Roman government had forbidden. Even though Annas was no longer recognized by the Roman’s as the high priest, the Jewish people still looked to his leadership and Annas continued to maintain control of Jerusalem and the Temple from behind the scenes. Annas’ continued influence in Jerusalem from 15 AD until his death (which is unknown) is clearly seen by the fact that during those years the high priestly office was held by five of his sons, one son-in-law, and one grandson: Eleazar, 16-17 AD; Caiaphas (son-in-law), 18-36 AD; Jonathan, 37 AD; Theophilus, 37-41 AD; Matthias, 43 AD; Ananus, 63 AD; Mattathias (grandson), 65-66 AD.
On the night of Jesus’ arrest Annas was the first “official” to place Jesus on trial and question him. Around 2:30 in the morning Annas questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
Annas was clearly trying to get Jesus to condemn himself and provide evidence that could be used against Jesus at an official trial held later before the Jewish Sanhedrin. So, Jesus said to Annas, the godfather of Jerusalem, “I spoke openly to the world in the synagogues, at the temple and where ever Jews gathered publicly. Clearly, my teaching and what I said is not a secret, so…”:
“Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

With that response one of the members of the Sanhedrin that was present early that morning and standing near Jesus slapped him on the face with the flat of his hand for being disrespectful, or so he thought, of the “high priest.” It is interesting to notice that the official high priest recognized by Rome was Caiaphas, but this Jewish official still referred to Annas, a man who had not been the recognized high priest for 15 years, as the high priest.
Jesus does not apologize for being mouthy or disrespectful, but holds his own legal ground by saying:
  1. “If I said something wrong…” – meaning, “What did I say that was legally wrong? The burden of the accuser is to provide evidence against the accused. It is not a legal court case when you bring the accused in and question them until they say something wrong for you can use to condemn them. You go investigate what my teaching was if you think there is a problem.”
  2. “..testify as to what is wrong.” – meaning, “You had better have some evidence to prove that what I just said is false before you start rejecting my opening statement, accusing me of being disrespectful and slapping me for being guilty.”
  3.  “But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” – meaning, “If you have no evidence, then you just hit me illegally and now you have a legal lawsuit coming your way for misconduct, intimidation and corruption.”

Annas, the godfather of Jerusalem and gangster of Temple politics, knows he has just been outmaneuvered in a court of law, so:
                “Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.” – John 18:24

Jesus will face six trials between 2:00-8:30 AM that morning. Each trial ends uniquely, but always with the same verdict: There is NO evidence against Jesus.  Jesus is NOT guilty. Jesus IS innocent.
Yet, about 8:30 AM Jesus is sentenced to death and at 9:00 AM his sentence is executed when he is nailed on the cross.
Here is a list of the six trials that Jesus faced in six and a half hours (2:00-8:30 AM):
  1. Annas, about 2:30 AM at the high priest’s mansion/palace (John 18:12-14)
  2. Caiaphas, about 3:00 AM at the high priest’s mansion/palace (Matthew 26:57-68)
  3. Sanhedrin, about 5:15 at sunrise on the Temple Mount or just west of the Western Wall in a court room that has recently been discovered (details here and here) (Matthew 27:1-2)
  4. Pilate #1, about 6:00 AM at Fort Antonia, Praetorium (John 18:28-38)
  5. Herod Antipas, 6:45 AM at Herod’s Palace in NW corner of the city in the citadel or in the Hasmonean Palace on Mount Zion (Luke 23:6-12)
  6. Pilate #2, about 7:30-8:30 AM at Fort Antonia, Praetorium (John 18:39-19:6)
Tsaphah (Hb) - Watchman (Eng) - the Hebrew noun tsaphah literally means "one who watches" and is translated "look out," "to keep watch," "watchman," and even "to spy on," "to lie in wait for," and "scout." The tsaphah was a man who guarded the city and watched for approaching enemies,but Ezekiel was told by God that he would be a spiritual tsaphah to warn the righteous of falling into evil behavior and warning the wicked of the approaching judgment they would face.
Do I get self-respect and respect for other confused?
Do I think self-respect and respect for others are mutually exclusive?
Self-respect and respect for others are not incompatible.
Jesus spoke to Annas with both self-respect and respect for the legal system.
I do not need to destroy my self-respect and self-worth in order to achieve God's plans, to live humble, to be a servant or to be spiritually mature.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text




The private prayer time and study habits of members
Local community groups
Puerto Rico - corruption plagues local governments

Looking up at the remains of the first century ceiling and the Herodian decoration of the Jewish access to the Temple Mount inside the Double Gate from the south side. This is the original decorations from the New Testament time.
(click on image for larger size)
Diagram of the City of David, or Jerusalem, in 1000 BC.
(click on image for larger size)

Someone to Quote

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Tertullian

Something to Ponder

“Music is for the soul what wind is for the ship, blowing her onwards in the direction in which she is steered.”
– William Booth (1829-1912), British Methodist preacher and founder of Salvation Army

Here’s a Fact

Ezra 5:6 says that a letter was sent directly to King Darius in 520 BC. This agrees with discoveries of similar texts found in Darius' royal city Persepolis that indicate Darius receiving and responding to letters concerning details of his kingdom just as the book of Ezra indicates. (details)


"I (wisdom) was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep."
Proverbs 8:27-28

Coach’s Corner

The keys of the kingdom of God reside with believers. Unlock the potential! 

Esther 3
New International Version (NIV)
Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews
After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.
Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.
When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”
10 So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
12 Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. 13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
Acts 3
New International Version (NIV)
Peter Heals a Lame Beggar
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Peter Speaks to the Onlookers
11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’
24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
John 5
New International Version (NIV)
The Healing at the Pool
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4]  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
The Authority of the Son
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
Testimonies About Jesus
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

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